Can I Go Paleo If I am on a Budget?
Many people who want to make the change to the Paleo lifestyle hesitate because they feel that the purist approach is the only option. But it’s important for all of us to remember that one of the foundational principles of Paleo is that each individual is different, and therefore, each individual will have different needs, including financial needs. Don’t allow the assumed expense of the Paleo diet stop you from improving your life and health! If your finances limit you to many conventional food sources, you can still go Paleo and see huge positive results! If you find it challenging to afford organic, grass-feed, local meat and produce, these guidelines will help go Paleo on a budget!
Maintaining the optimal 1:1 to 1:4 omega-3 to omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio balance is vital to our health. And you can still balance this even if purchasing convention foods. You may need to do some extra planning and consider shopping online for different sources, but it can be done! Here are some ways to control the ratio if grass-feed or wild-caught fish isn’t an option:
- Consume higher quantities of coconut, macadamia nuts and walnuts, while decreasing the amount of other nuts and seeds.
- Consume less chicken and poultry since they have the highest omega 6 content of conventionally-produced meat.
- Consume only lean cuts of meat since conventional meats do not supply the good fats that your body needs.
- Consume omega-3 eggs over pasture-raised eggs since they are a good second choice and will help keep your food costs down.
- Consume sea vegetables such as kelp noodles, sea snax and nori, all of which raise your omega 3’s.
- Consume only lard and tallow from grass-fed animals, coconut oil, palm oil, butter, olive, macadamia nut, walnut, ghee and avocado oils, and avoid all refined vegetable oils.
- Consume more fish since many fish varieties have almost no omega-6 content. For example, canned salmon, sardines and tuna are very inexpensive ways to add wild-caught fish into your diet.
One important difference between conventional foods and pasture-raised, locally-grown foods is the lower amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs. To increase the nutrimental density of your food when you need to purchase conventional foods, focus on the following tips:
- Eat a larger quantity of Brazil nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- Eat organ meats since they are both high in nutrition and low in cost. Pasture-raised and grass-fed organ meats are often even less expensive than cheaper cuts of conventional meats.
- Eatfresh vegetables as soon as you get them hometo gain the most nutrients from them by shortening their shelf life.
- Eat vegetables you grow yourself. Even people living in small spaces are learning that container gardening provides a great amount of delicious, organic produce with little effort.
- Eat frozen vegetables since they are flash-frozen to preserve many nutrients. This is especially true if the type you vegetables you desire aren’t easily found in your area or if the fresh ones you have access to seem to have been sitting around for a while. Even organic frozen veggies are inexpensive, so they are a great choice.
- Eat a variety of cooked and raw vegetables to ensure you access all of the minerals and vitamins available in each veggie.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that you ferment yourself. Fermented foods are costly, but you can easily learn to create the process at home.
Variety is more than the spice of life! It is also a vital part of keeping your body at peak performance since different foods contain different nutrients. To increase variety in your diet, try these suggestions:
- Try shopping online. It is amazing how many natural food service companies now send their products all over the country!
- Try new spices, herbs and fats. Ethnic and specialty stores, along with markets available online, are wonderful places to discover new products and flavors.
- Try shopping in various stores instead of always going to the same supermarket. Many conventional grocery chains specialize in different types of foods, so you may find better produce variety and freshness in one store, but better choices and prices on meat at another.
- Try the new and unusual. You may end up discovering your new favorites this way. And you can now easily find recipes online for anything.
- Try different cooking methods to enhance different nutritional contents.
While it is true that the better the quality of food, the better, getting started on the Paleo diet is much more important than waiting until you think you can afford it! Using these tips to get started, even using conventional foods, will be all the proof that you need to know you have made the right choice!